Is Red Lipstick The Secret To Success?

Ok, so I am being cheeky, but in a day and age where a woman’s appearance is scrutinised more than ever thanks to the advent of social media, and the fact we work ( and do) more than ever, what we look like IS important.

There are a myriad of studies that confirm a tailored appearance and success go hand in hand. For example in a US study by Pew Research Centre in Washington two years ago of 4573 people, when asked what society values for each gender, more than a third – 35 percent – said physical attractiveness is what society most values in women. 

So like it or not, as a woman, finding what works for you and enhancing your physical appearance and attractiveness is important. And what has worked for me – and is working better with age is red lipstick.

It is the easiest way to brighten my face, make me look fresher, and even lessen the effects of my tired, jet-lagged face and it is the quickest way to look presentable. And red lipstick lasts.

Renae Leith-Manos in St Tropez last week wearing Fenty’s Madamn Royal red matte lipstick.

I am often asked by readers which is the best red lipstick to buy, and I certainly have some tips:

The first thing is to know is that finding the right red can be a journey, and you are going to have to be courageous if you have not worn red before. I believe everyone can wear red lipstick – yes, even redheads. You just need the right tone.

The first step is to work out what skin tone you have and what the underlying colour of your skintone is. A make-up artist or even a professional at a make-up counter can help you determine this.

For example my underlying skin tone is blue. Therefore the red lipsticks that suit me best also have a blue undertone. But there are orange and yellow as well as purple undertones in red lipstick, and you can mix them up by day and night and workout what works for you.

I also have a number of red lipsticks in different colours I wear on different days, but all with a blue undertone – some are more orange to brighten and lift my face, others are at the other end of the scale with purple undertones, (think blackberry) which are sexier and more sultry by night. (Even if my 11 year old daughter calls me a goth if the red is dark – whatever).

I was in St Tropez at The Clarins day spa at The Hotel de Paris last week, and I tried the classic red Clarins Joli Rouge Velvet “Joli Rouge” which I loved instantly as it has blue undertones and is a creamy rich red. Clarins make quality beauty products.

Renae Leith-Manos in St Tropez at La Reserve Ramatuelle La Plage wearing classic red Clarins Joli Rouge Velvet “Joli Rouge”

For a matte look, the ultra slim plush red lipstick in Madamn (Royal Red)  by Fenty beauty By Rihanna is outstanding. It stays on for hours and is a strong, rich, blue based red, and I enjoy using the slim sized applicator.

MAC has always produced fantastic reds – although they often phase them out which is very frustrating. There is nothing worse than finally finding the right red lipstick for you then going back to buy it again only to discover it is no longer made. Russian Red is the classic red with a purple undertone, Ruby Woo is blue and Lady Danger, orange. All good, strong reds.

Urban Decay is producing some seriously hot make-up, and the mega matte red in 714 is my current favourite. It is very matte – which I like, but I know it can be drying to wear on a daily basis if you have dry skin or your lips are prone to chapping. It stays on through a coffee which is amazing for me.

I have only found one negative with red lipstick and it concerns men. Red lipstick easily comes off on collars and it can stain, and it certainly comes off when kissing, so if you are planning an amorous night, a clear lip gloss may be a better choice.

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Renae Leith-Manos

Editor and Founder of Bondi Beauty

Renae Leith-Manos loves fitness, new beauty products, long chats and long flights. She is at her best when traveling the world writing about luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants ( She has had a colourful media career as a journalist inmagazines and newspapers, in Australia and Asia. She spends her time writing, cooking, consulting to new businesses, running and working out.

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